Monday 26 February 2018

My Latest Paintings

Here are my latest efforts. They are all 16" x 12" mostly Waterford 300gsm not. I have started painting on the backs of rejected or superseded paintings as I have a huge pile of these and new blocks work out £1.50 a sheet  so why waste more paper. You can paint on the backs of many makes. Ron Ranson did so and told me one such painting was hung at the Royal Academy!

Flat Iron - Sioux

I'm rather pleased with this one which is very close to the desired effect. I just hope I can repeat it. 

An Apache Warrior
 This individual had a very 'craggy look' which I may have overdone slightly.

Big Ears!

You can see that this one and the following are a 'riot of colour'. I have looked at Gerard Hendriks and some others who use what Charles Reid calls .... actually I've forgotten what he calls them ( is it random colours?) but he means colours that aren't actually visible in the subject. Perhaps I've overdone it but I rather like the effect. After all the true colours of these animals are rather dull. I wish I'd been more adventurous earlier in my watercolour odyssey. Realistic abstracts? I'd like to think so.


This was painted before the previous one and the colours are not so vivid but I think probably better.


This was an AVA Thursday subject,

A Saucy Look

I did this one at home in my 'studio'. I quite like it but it isn't exactly what I wanted to convey.

Relaxing on the beach.

This was another AVA subject. The Kangaroo relaxing on the beach appealed to me. This from an actual photograph.

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Pebeo Masking Fluid

A little while back I criticised Pebeo as the fluid got on my trousers you can't get it off. My fault actually and Pebeo is well liked and used by several of my painting friends. Be wary though it's dreadful stuff to remove as are other makes of masking fluid,  but then acrylic paint is nearly as bad and some of the more recent synthetic watercolours are heavily staining and also hard to remove.

Above are the Pebeo tubes, still in their packets. The concept is similar to Molotow except the Pebeo sizes are 04 and 07. I haven't tried them yet but those who have amongst my painting group who have tried the Molotow system are not impressed. The complaint is that the fluid is hard to remove and damages the paper, especially if the paper is on the soft side. I have not had such an adverse effect so far but I can see why there is a problem if you leave the fluid on too long before trying to remove it.  Also in the photo above is the 'Maskaway', according to the blurb a sort of hard rubber that makes it easier to remove masking fluid. Again not tried it yet. I got the above from the SAA (Society of All Artists) where we as an art group have an associate membership. The SAA claims to be a Society but is more like a large scale web selling operation with a comprehensive website and catalogues.

My friend John Softly prefers the Daniel Smith system of interchangeable plastic tubes, that vary in size. I've tried them and also the Masquepen system but found problems with all. Some of my friends prefer the Masquepen system.My problem is the cleaning of the fluid from the tubes. Maybe it's just me. I think I'll go back to using Pebeo with a ruling pen.

Thursday 15 February 2018

Verification of comments.

I know Google, and others, are getting very security conscious but really this is now ridiculous. When I wish to reply to a comment you get a block of images and are asked to click on the ones that contain certain objects. I've just tried to clear this hurdle and after the 7th or 8th page gave up as it just kept saying 'click on these images' and giving me a new one. This started recently and I've got through up to now, though usually not at the first attempt. I hope somebody is reading this because it may be one reason why I get so few comments these days if the posters have to go through this rigmarole. Frustrated ? You bet.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Ishi The Last of His Kind

Ishi was a Yahi indian, one of the Californian tribes of which there were many,  generally small. The history of these people and the whites, who swarmed into California mainly after gold, is one of the blackest episodes of the history of this period. You can read about it in 'The Destruction of California Indians' by Robert F Heizer (Bison Edition1993 University of Nebraska Press). The book describes itself as a collection of documents detailing what happened.  These indians were not warlike as were  the Sioux, Apache and others, and were  derided as 'digger indians' living on what they could find, including small animals. They weren't horse indians and lived at subsistence level. They did resist the incursions of the miners but were not able to provide real resistance.

This is Ishi, obviously by his dress, when he had been 'rescued' by civilisation. But you can see the sort of primitive living accommodation the Yahis had. In 1865 the Yahi were surprised when asleep and massacred, men, women and children, by a group of white men. The few that survived fled only to be hunted and further decimated. Yahi and his small family went into hiding for 44 years and it was only after he was alone three years later,  his three relatives having died, after a group of surveyors discovered them in 1908, that he emerged from the wilds, obviously in a  pretty desperate state. Professors at the University of California, Berkeley heard about him and took him under their wing using him as a research assistant, into the history of the California Indians, most of whom were then extinct. I suppose you could say he was considered a kind of lab rat but they looked after him until his death on August 29 1911. He was another victim of the white mens diseases that decimated many Indian tribes.

His title as 'The Last Indian' has been questioned by further research linking the Yahi to related Californian tribes but that's another story. My interest in him was founded on my general interest in the history of white settlement and conflict between the settlers and  the Army, principally in the 19th century but also earlier. There are quite a lot of black and white photos to be found and the following painting is based on one.

Ishi - 16" x 12" Waterford 140lb (300gsm) not.

An interesting if tragic story. 

Friday 9 February 2018

Watercolour Paint Dot Cards

A fairly recent trend has been the introduction of dot cards.  These are small blobs of paint on sheets of stiff card to enable the artist to see the exact shade of the particular paint. Previously the choices were either printed sheets of the paint ranges or hand-painted colour charts. I have a large collection of all three types. The problems with the printed charts are the approximate representation of the actual colour, while the hand painted charts can be so pristine, and the colours so smooth and consistent, that you wonder how they achieved them. Maybe it's just me.

The sheets above are the full Daniel Smith range, at least it was when I bought them but there have been some additions since then. Rather than try and paint them out on separate sheets of watercolour paper I think it best to do what I've done as some of the dots are very small.  I noticed an example of the Schminke dots where the colours had been painted vertically rather than round as here.  Anyway it's up to you how you approach this. This full range dot cards is quite expensive and they do smaller charts of dots, some of which are free or lower priced. I noticed on a recent visit to my local art shop that they had a 'free' Daniel Smith dot card with the well-known British artist Shirley Trevenas 'palette'. Anything to separate you from your hard-earned cash. The unpainted dots above are the 'iridescent' range and some of the 'specials' they do.

The above are the latest Schmincke dot cards which cost just over £14 from Jacksons. There also are some other sheets with smaller number,  the lowest number being free and slightly more comprehensive  ones - but not the full range - at a lower price.

They were introduced with the recent revamp increasing the number of paints to 140. Schmincke also do a splendid brochure of their watercolours with printed colours, but a most detailed description of each colour, including pigment numbers, characteristics and other information. I have a hard copy of the original range, but this time it appears is only available on the website and I haven't yet found a way to download it. All I can say is that the dots plus study of the brochure will give you the most comprehensive details you could ever want. Better than anyone else I would say. Schmincke are now highly competitive (in my opinion) and well worth considering. The only snag is they have 4 price series, not as many as some nor the lowest number, and there are not that many is Series 1, which is the cheapest. I've pointed out previously that the makers are not consistent and if not careful you can pay more than necessary due to how they price  their paints (pigments). Some that are in Series 1  in one make may be Series 2 - and consequently dearer - in others.

I read somewhere recently about QoR having dot cards but have no other information. I wouldn't even consider QoR though due to the eye watering prices.  I have an aversion to well-known artists recommending particularly expensive paints - applying to Daniel Smith and others - when they are receiving them free or at very large discounts to promote them. I'm not suggesting the paints aren't good because they are, but for amateur hobbyists, who are the large majority, there are perfectly adequate alternatives at lower prices. The late Ron Ranson told me privately that he considered a lot of the so-called recommendations of what to buy were a rip-off.  He used mostly Cotman paints in a limited number, Bockingford paper and a few synthetic brushes.

I seem to recall Winsor & Newton did a small number of three paint dot cards a while back but they have not moved on from this - at least not so far. One improvement on the dot cards would be pigment numbers but they are absent.

Thursday 1 February 2018

Watercolour Paintings (39)

Here are Februarys batch - a bumper lot with a mixture of styles, old and new (to me) artists and much to ponder and study.

Frank Ebers

Angele Villat

Xi Guo

Ryan Fox

Souvik Sil

Ray Maclachlan
This is a sketch by Ray, a friend and an amateur like me, who goes out at the crack of dawn to paint plein air in Australia! I thought I'd give him a thrill!

Tim Oliver

Igor Sava

Janet Rogers

Lovely portrait painter in a loose style. A female Charles

Kourosh Asiani (?)

Catherine Rey

I love her work.

Gerard Hendriks

Charles Reid

A typical Charles Reid study almost certainly painted as a workshop demo.

Jonathan Kwegyir Aggrey

This young African artist is now a big name on the international circuit. He used to call me (in my and his early days ) Sir Peter!

Janine Gallizia

The surreal nature of her painting always appeals to me.

Jung Hum-Sung

Amazing portraits even though I admire super-realism I 'v never wanted to paint like that.

Sarah Yeoman

Robert Zangarelli

This is great - my kind of painting.

Gerard Hendriks

Graham Flatt
I'd never heard of this artist but love this one.

Cesc Farre

Jun Hun-Sung

Gerard Hendriks

Wow! Look at the colours.

Charles Reid

An excellent example of Charles figure work.

Amongst these artists are several I haven't previously featured or indeed know anything about. If you 'google' them or search on Facebook at least some will be found for further study. I also feature some of my favourites.